Fort Walton Beach

The members of Impact 100. You go, girls!
Photo submitted by Denise Kendust.

Members of IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida—a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization made up solely of women—have selected three community service groups in Okaloosa and Walton counties that will receive grants of $123,000 each in the coming year.


These funds will bring the total amount of contributions IMPACT 100 has made to local community service groups in the past five years to $1.29 million. The funding comes from annual membership donations, with every dollar going directly to the grants that are awarded.


Grant recipients and the projects they will undertake with IMPACT 100 grant money are:


Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation, which supports and extends educational opportunities for everyone in Okaloosa County, will construct a greenhouse at Silver Sands School. “The Growth House” will comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards and provide a learning facility to advance special needs student education in horticulture studies, offer socialization through involvement with community volunteers, and provide job training through the sale of plants and produce at local farmers’ markets. The project will also help environmental restoration efforts in partnership with the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance.


Walton County Habitat for Humanity, which is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing in Walton County, will expand and enlarge Habitat ReStore, its facility that stores and resells to area homeowners a range of construction materials and household items. Habitat obtains the products through donations, which keeps the materials out of the waste stream. Homeowners benefit from the reduced prices, and Habitat uses the profits to build new homes.


COPE Center (Chautauqua Offices of Psychotherapy and Evaluation), a community mental health center in Walton County offering treatment as well as education and wellness programs, will construct a building to house a new inpatient drug rehabilitation program for pregnant and postpartum women. In the new facility, drug treatment will be provided in conjunction with prenatal care and parenting classes to help mothers bond with their new babies.


Recipients were chosen from a field of local 501(c)(3) organizations that applied to IMPACT 100 earlier this year. Applications were assessed by review committees that in turn recommended finalists in the focus areas of arts and culture, education, environment, family, and health and recreation.


On Oct. 30, at the IMPACT 100 annual meeting, finalists made presentations to the full membership, and members then voted to determine the three award winners for 2016.


Past recipients include AMI Kids, ARC of the Emerald Coast, Destin Harvest, Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, GRACE Rides, the Matrix Community Outreach Center, Safe Connections, and Shelter House.


For additional information about IMPACT 100 or to join the organization, visit

– Denise Kendust
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